It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent adult abuse and this Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week (Oct 8-12), Medway resident are being urged to ‘See It, Report It, Stop It’.
From Monday, 8 to Friday, 12 October, Medway Council and the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board will highlight the problems of isolation and exploitation within the county and encourage the public to report any concerns.
One of the responsibilities of the board is to undertake multiagency Safeguarding Adults Reviews. These look at a case in more detail to establish what worked well and what can be done to further improve practice. Recent reviews have influenced the themes of this year’s campaign.
During Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week, representatives from Medway Council, Kent County Council, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, Kent Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service and other partner agencies, will be holding events to speak to the public about how to recognise and stop different types of abuse.
Abuse can take many forms, such as physical, psychological, consumer scams, sexual, neglect, modern slavery, radicalism, hate crimes, discrimination and domestic violence.
Adults without a wide support network or who are fundamentally lonely, are especially susceptible to abuse in its various forms, such as online scams and those who falsely befriend vulnerable people to exploit them, (known as mate crime). Every year 3.2 million people hand money to mass marketing scams alone.
Some isolated adults are targeted by gangs who befriend them so they can take over their home and use it for criminal activity. Cuckooing, as it is known, is a growing problem in the south of England.
In the last financial year more than 11,610 safeguarding concerns were reported in Kent and Medway, up from 10,666 the previous year. In the same period 6,375 new safeguarding enquiries were undertaken to establish whether action needed to be taken to stop abuse or neglect.
The best weapon against abuse is to talk about it to the right people. Anyone with a concern regarding the actual or potential abuse of a loved one, a colleague, a friend, a neighbour, a child or about themselves, should make a point of reporting it.
'Supporting those that need it the most'
Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, said: “We will be working alongside partner agencies, including health services and the emergency services, to raise awareness of the different forms of abuse and how to recognise and stop them during Adult Safeguarding Week. We provide specialist and discrete advice to victims and we are committed to supporting those that need it the most. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone with concerns about someone they know to report it on their behalf.”
'Please help us to help others'
The Independent Chair of the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Adults Board, Deborah Stuart-Angus, said: “We must learn from the experience, gained from Safeguarding Adult Reviews, supported by research (Hawkley and Cacioppo, 2010), which has shown us that people who are lonely and isolated are frequently more sensitive to perceived threats, causing them to withdraw further from communities and social situations”
“The government’s call for evidence to develop The Loneliness Strategy has noted that such withdrawal can in itself can create a ‘vicious cycle’. Please help us to help others.”
To report abuse call Medway Council on 01634 334466 or Kent County Council on 03000 41 61 61 or, if someone is in immediate risk, dial 999. Support will be provided by specially trained people to victims of abuse and those who report it.
During the campaign, a number of information stands and one-stop-shops will be taking place across Medway, including:
- Wednesday 10 October – Medway Maritime Hospital, Windmill Road, Gillingham, ME75NY (between 9am-2pm)
- Thursday, 11 October – Strood Community Hub, High Street, Strood (2.30pm - 4pm)
- Friday, 12 October - Pentagon Shopping Centre, High Street, Chatham (9am – 1pm)
Representatives from Medway Council, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and/or Medway Community Healthcare will be running the information stands.